About 1960s: Days of Rage

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World Cup 2022 Group G guide: Tadic’s corners, Swiss pressing and a more complete Neymar

“What should we expect from Spain? Where is Japan’s weakness? Are Germany playing differently under Hansi Flick? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic is running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar over the coming month. …”
The Athletic (Video)

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World Cup 2022 Group F guide: Free-scoring Belgium, cross-heavy Croatia and Canada’s cutbacks

“What tactics do Belgium use? What is Canada’s weakness? Which quirk should we look out for from Croatia? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic will be running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar. Liam Tharme will look at each team’s playing style, strengths, weaknesses, key players and highlight things to keep an eye on during the tournament. …”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 Group H guide: Bernardo Silva the orchestrator and Uruguay’s last dance

“Does Cristiano Ronaldo hurt or help Portugal these days? What should we look out for from Uruguay? How do South Korea use Son Heung-min? The 2022 World Cup is nearly upon us and The Athletic has been running in-depth tactical group guides so you will know what to expect from every nation competing in Qatar. …”
The Athletic (Video)

2022-23 FA Cup, 1st Round Proper: location-map, with fixtures list & current league attendances

“The FA Cup – the oldest football tournament in the world – begins its 142nd edition on Friday the 4th of November 2022. Of the 40 matches to be played in the First Round Proper, there are: 2 games on Friday the 4th, 33 games on Saturday the 5th, 4 games on Sunday the 6th, and 1 game on Monday the 7th. Televised matches are (with clubs’ league-levels noted)…Friday: Hereford (6) v Portsmouth (3); Saturday: South Shields (7) v Forest Green Rovers (3); Sunday [early]: Wrexham (5) v Oldham Athletic (5), and Sunday [late]: Torquay United (5) v Derby County (3); Monday: Bracknell Town (7) v Ipswich Town (3). …”
billsportsmaps

The Ten Commandments of Gegenpressing


“Space is critical in football, give your opponent too much of it, and you get punished; make the best of little space or try to profit from little space, and you might get rewarded with a goal. This creates a problem for every manager, irrespective of the philosophical divide: how do I limit and control my opponent’s use of space with and without the ball? To this end, Gegenpressing is a tantalizing option; Gegenpressing (counter-pressing) is simply winning the ball immediately after losing possession. The opposition’s intention after getting the ball is to start a counter; hence their defensive organisation is broken, leaving them vulnerable because their players are quite apart in the quest to score a goal. …”
Breaking the Lines
What is Gegenpressing and how it evolved into one of the most revolutionary tactics in modern football?
The Athletic: Liverpool are the masters of chaos – and the polar opposite of Manchester City
YouTube: What is Gegenpressing?

La Liga packs up for World Cup and some need a break more than others

“‘I’ll be watching it of course, at home, because I like football,’ Carlo Ancelotti said. ‘My teams will be the teams where my players play: Brazil, Spain, France, Uruguay, Croatia, Germany, lots of teams. I’ll follow the World Cup as a fan, and may the best team win it. Unfortunately, Italy can’t.’ There was a smile, a goodbye and with that he was gone. They all were. Just before midnight on a Thursday in early November and the Real Madrid coach was the last man to leave. La Liga was finished, everyone out of here for 50 days. Mentally, some had gone already. …”
Guardian

Taking Stock at the World Cup Break

“In the end, the reverie could not quite hold. Union Berlin, the unassuming, unheralded team from the forest, had first moved atop of the Bundesliga in early September. It had the air, back then, of the sort of fleeting feel-good story that the early days of the season can bring: not a fluke, of course, but a confluence of circumstance that was unlikely to last. Nobody expected Union to remain there for long, least of all anyone connected to Union itself. The highest echelon of German soccer has, in recent years, grown used to the sudden advent of supercharged underdogs in its ranks, from Hoffenheim, the passion play of a local billionaire, to RB Leipzig, the artificial creation of an energy-drink conglomerate. …”
NY Times

World Cup 2022 Groups: The Predictions


“The 2022 World Cup is finally here, with the tournament in Qatar being the first held in the months of November and December since the first World Cup finals in 1930. The 22nd men’s FIFA World Cup tournament will see 32 teams battle it out in the group stage after qualifying via five different regions – Asia, Africa, South America, North America/Central America and Europe (no nation from Oceania qualified). From there, 16 will make it through to the knockout stages. …”
The Analyst

World Cup 2022 team guides part 14: Denmark

“… Denmark have continued on the same path that took them to the semi-finals of the European Championship in 2021 and the only real worry is the long search for a centre-forward to fit Kasper Hjulmand’s 4-3-3 system. Denmark may have lost twice to Croatia in the Nations League but they beat France twice. In Paris they won 2-1 against a full-strength French team with a couple of late goals from the substitute Andreas Cornelius and, in the final game before the World Cup, they beat the world champions 2-0 at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen. …”
Guardian

Deschamps interview: France’s ‘complicated’ World Cup defence, filling Pogba and Kante void

“Didier Deschamps contemplates the perception of problems around the French camp with the tenacity anyone who watched him patrolling a midfield would expect. His expression, as a series of issues are laid before him, is determinedly dismissive. What of the controversies? The scandals? The endless polemics about Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba and so on? …”
The Athletic

Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the Irresistible Allure of the Long-Range Goal


“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves an unlikely goal-scorer from 2010. …”
The Ringer (Video)

Roma’s early momentum dissipates to leave Mourinho pointing the finger

“The players were in the tunnel ready to emerge for the second half at the Mapei Stadium, but José Mourinho was headed in the opposite direction, returning from the dugout to the changing room. Roma were drawing 0-0 with Sassuolo but just for a moment that was not his priority, as he went to retrieve a team shirt to give to a young supporter in a wheelchair he had noticed beside the pitch. …”
Guardian

Inside Bayer Leverkusen and how they plan to grow a club built around a company


“There are wild parrots in Leverkusen. Step off the train in the German city and walk into the park that leads to the football stadium. They’re there. A dozen, maybe two. They sit in the branches and then flutter away when they decide people are getting too close. It’s a local phenomenon. Nobody seems to know quite where they came from. One theory has it that a few rose-ringed parakeets were released many years ago and, from there, the population boomed. ….”
The Athletic (Video)

World Cup 2022 team guides part 9: Argentina

“This is the first time Argentina arrive at a World Cup in peace. Excited, yes, but also calm. The greatest strength is the team’s collectiveness, the fact that everyone works hard for each other and that has been highlighted again and again over the past four years. Everyone in the team – in the squad in fact – knows their role: this is a well-oiled machine. The current cycle began towards the end of 2018 after Jorge Sampaoli’s disastrous spell in charge, which included a last-16 exit from the Russia World Cup and off- and on-field problems. Lionel Scaloni, who had been an assistant to Sampaoli, took over on an interim basis – together with Pablo Aimar – and the former Deportivo La Coruña and Lazio player never looked back. …”
Guardian

The Curious Case of the World Cup Catfish

“Many of us have had that experience where we have been anticipating a film for many months, one whose cast and director are so good that it simply cannot fail, only to realize that, within the movie’s first few scenes, we are in for an epic disappointment. By the time we shuffle away from the cinema or forlornly fold our laptops closed, we are overwhelmed by that unique feeling: the ache of unsatisfying art. In extreme cases, our ache also carries a sense of betrayal: You promised us a rousing, soaring spectacle, and yet you presented us with something so different from and so far beneath our expectations. How could you? You catfished us. …”
The Ringer (Video)

A Soccer Team Once United Iran. Now It Reflects Its Divisions.

“Iran’s national soccer team has historically been viewed as a representative of the country’s people, not of the Islamic Republic’s government. Team Melli, as the squad is known, has been embraced as an apolitical force, and as a secular passion that reflected a certain ideal, the Iran of everyone’s imagination. For years, the team has brought unity and joy to a fractious nation. Support for it has been effectively unconditional. Until now. …”
NY Times

Inside AFTV a decade since its launch: The controversies, criticism, changes and future


“Last month, AFTV turned 10 years old. The channel has now provided a decade of post-match catharsis for Arsenal supporters. … This is, in business terms, a clear success story. At the time of writing, AFTV is on the verge of reaching 1.5 million YouTube subscribers. It has amassed more than a billion views. Its other social-media profiles have grown too, with more than a million followers on Instagram. This is a significant media organisation. …”
The Athletic (Video)

‘Racism’: Qataris decry French cartoon of national football team

“A cartoon by a French newspaper depicting Qatari footballers as terrorists has sparked outrage on social media, with users calling out its ‘blatant Islamophobia’ and ‘racism’. The caricature was published by Le Canard enchainé in its October issue, which focuses on Qatar and its role as the FIFA World Cup 2022 host. The image depicts seven bearded men with ‘Qatar’ written across their chests above big numbers. They appear to be chasing a football in the sand while carrying machetes, guns and rocket launchers. One wears a belt laden with explosives. Five are wearing blue robes and two are wearing black shirts and pants with balaclavas covering their faces. ….”
Aljazeera (Video)

Gabriel Jesus is not just a pressing striker – Arsenal benefit from his top tackling too

Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday was slender in terms of scoreline, but considerably more convincing in terms of performance. Mikel Arteta’s side scored the winner from a set piece. But their dominance in open play was obvious — and, in a subtle way, the winner was perfect. The goal itself was an inswinging Bukayo Saka corner, missed by everyone and turned into the net from precisely a yard out by Gabriel Magalhaes. But if you work backwards, you find the key to Arsenal’s performance. The corner came from an Edouard Mendy save, from a Gabriel Jesus shot, and the move for that shot started when Thiago Silva was tackled by Jesus. …”
The Athletic – Michael Cox

World Cup Penalty Shootouts: The Facts

“There have been a host of penalty shootouts at World Cup tournaments since they were introduced ahead of the 1978 FIFA World Cup as a tiebreaker, but which countries have had the best shootout record and what nation is right to have the fear factor about the dreaded match-decider? We look at the facts around World Cup penalty shootouts ahead of this year’s tournament in Qatar. …”
The Analyst (Video)

LAFC finds Hollywood ending, beats Philadelphia on penalty kicks for first MLS Cup title


LAFC goalie John McCarthy dives to block a shot during Saturday’s penalty-kick shootout against the Philadelphia Union.
“LAFC beat the Philadelphia Union to win its first MLS Cup in unbelievable fashion Saturday at Banc of California Stadium. Here’s what you need to know: LAFC got a 128th-minute equalizer from Gareth Bale to bring the game level at 3-3 and force penalties, where backup goalkeeper John McCarthy, a former Union player and Philadelphia native, made two saves to lead the Black and Gold to an unreal win. McCarthy, who was named MVP, was substituted on after starting keeper Maxime Crepéau was carted off with an injury — and got a red card — late in extra time. LA is the eighth team in MLS history to win both the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup in a single season. …”
The Athletic (Video)
LA Times (Video)
NY Times: Los Angeles F.C. Wins First Title on Dramatic Day’s Final Twist (Video)

Salah’s double leaves Liverpool enough room to see off Spurs’ late charge

“It was about time Liverpool remembered how to dig in. Even if Jürgen Klopp more or less admitted that the red machine is not back to full working order just yet, at least he saw glimpses of the old fighting spirit. It took plenty of guts to see off another late comeback from Tottenham, not to mention plenty of clearances from Ibrahima Konaté and brave punches from Alisson, and while this was not a complete display from Liverpool it was easy to see why Klopp celebrated at full time by marching across the pitch to celebrate with the travelling support. …”
Guardian

European roundup: Filip Kostic inspires Juventus in defeat of Internazionale

“Filip Kostic set up both goals as Juventus beat Internazionale in Serie A on Sunday in a challenging game where both teams had chances to win. Kostic took advantage of a cleared Inter corner and raced into the box, where Adrien Rabiot guided the assist elegantly into the bottom corner in the 52nd minute. Kostic then fed an unmarked Nicolo Fagioli six minutes before full time for the second goal. Juventus are fifth on 25 points, 10 behind leaders Napoli. Inter are seventh on 24 points. …”
Guardian

Barcelona vs Almería, La Liga: Final Score 2-0


Gerard Piqué
“Barcelona will be top of the La Liga table for the next two days thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win against Almería at the Greatest Stadium on Earth on Saturday night. Barça played very good football and dominated a helpless Almería side, and the night was extra special as Gerard Piqué started and captained the side for the last time at Camp Nou and was part of the winning team on his farewell. …”
Barca Blaugranes (Audio)

Out-of-gas Fabinho has become a symbol of Liverpool’s decline

“It was about halfway through the first half of Liverpool’s defeat to Leeds at Anfield last Saturday that Fabinho made his feelings known to the crowd. The hosts had once again failed to string some passes together and as the ball drifted out of play there came groans from the Kop. Hearing this, Fabinho turned to the stand and began waving his arms in a call for support, doing so aggressively and with a snarl on his face. He clearly was not happy and neither were those watching on, with a fair few making that clear to him. …”
Guardian

FIFA letter receives backlash from World Cup nations: ‘The pursuit of such a strategy will be self-defeating’

“A letter which FIFA sent to every World Cup nation asking them to ‘focus on the football’ in Qatar rather than ‘every ideological and political battle that exists’ has been criticised by several recipients. The build-up to the tournament has been overshadowed by allegations of serious human rights abuses, including Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality, the widespread death of migrant workers, and the limited rights of women in the country. …”
The Athletic

Qatar World Cup: What was promised and what is actually being delivered

“’The promise given was a necessity of the past; the word broken is a necessity of the present.’ Florentine diplomat, historian and philosopher (a genuine Renaissance man) Niccolo Machiavelli would have been good at winning bids for major sporting events. A World Cup for all of Italy? Sure. Us, the Duchy of Milan, Papal States, Venetian Republic, we’re all Italian brothers. A dozen new stadiums? Absolutely — why not 15? New roads? Of course, we’ll pave them with gold! …”
The Athletic
NY Times: The World Cup is Weeks Away. Will Qatar Be Ready?
NY Times: Qatar Offered Fans Free World Cup Trips, but Only on Its Terms (Video)

Does ‘Potterball’ exist?: Searching for patterns to how Chelsea’s manager plays


“In the 32nd minute at the Red Bull Arena, Chelsea’s possession game caught fire. On the right of defence, Trevoh Chalobah played a short pass to Christian Pulisic. Retreating under pressure, the American laid it off to Jorginho, who directed it towards the halfway line. There it found Raheem Sterling. Drawing a Red Bull Salzburg player with him into the Chelsea half, Sterling laid the ball off to Mateo Kovacic, who whipped a pass to the left where Kai Havertz was in a sea of space. The Germany international advanced into the final third and drew the final Salzburg defender, Bernardo, before squaring it to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. …”
The Athletic

World Cup Dreams, Gone in an Instant

“LEEDS, England — For a second, Aleksandar Mitrovic looked panicked. He slumped onto his back on the Elland Road turf, his face a grimace, his hands covering his eyes. It was not immediately apparent what had happened: Perhaps his ankle had jarred, or his knee twisted, or a hamstring popped. Fulham’s medical team rushed onto the field. Marco Silva, the club’s coach, has been ‘managing’ his striker’s fitness for weeks, ever since Mitrovic picked up an injury while away on international duty with Serbia. He was taken off early in a defeat against Newcastle. He missed a game with Bournemouth altogether. He has admitted to playing in ‘a lot of pain.’ …”
NY Times

‘When you’re a referee of colour, you stand out more. But things are changing’

“On August 23, 1997, Uriah Rennie became the first black man to referee a Premier League match. Rennie, who made his bow overseeing a game between Leeds United and Crystal Palace, had a career that lasted 11 seasons and more than 170 games, until his final game on May 11, 2008, where he officiated a 2-0 victory for Liverpool over Tottenham. Rennie’s final appearance remains the last time a black man was the lead match official in a Premier League fixture. …”
The Athletic

The Instant Legend of Kvaradona


“BATUMI, Georgia — They used to worry that the Adjarabet Arena, with its sinuous arches and illuminated exterior, would turn into something of a white elephant. Batumi, after all, is a quaint resort town; it had little need for a 20,000-capacity stadium. Dinamo, the soccer team that was to call it home, generally required seating for only half that number. And then, at the start of April, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia arrived. …”
NY Times

The 92 Club: Morecambe, the Completely-Suzuki Stadium and the finale… for now

“There is an exclusive group called the Ninety-Two Club, whose members have watched a competitive first-team match at every Premier League and EFL stadium. Our Richard Sutcliffe has wanted to join for 40 years but his quest has proved less than straightforward. He started 2022-23 with eight grounds to tick off. After visiting AFC Wimbledon and Oxford United during the opening 10 days of the new season, making two trips to Forest Green Rovers and taking in a midweek journey to Salford, he is ready to cross the finish line…”
The Athletic

Emotional Moments in Football

Football is much more than a game. It has the power to bring us together. It has the power to bring joy, and great sadness. It has the power to divide, and it has the power to bring unity. There are many moments when football has caused an outpouring of emotion. Seb Stafford-Bloor charts some of the biggest and most impactful moments. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.
YouTube

The Exhilarating, Confounding Genius of Johan Cruyff


“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves Johan Cruyff and the greatest team to not win a World Cup. …”
The Ringer (Video)

Copa Libertadores: Another all-Brazilian affair

“For the third successive season, two teams from Brazil will contest the Copa Libertadores final. This time, it is Flamengo against surprise package Athletico Paranaense, who happen to be managed by Luiz Felipe Scolari, a man who knows how to win the competition. Scolari won in 1995 and 1999 with Grêmio and Palmeiras respectively, and of course, he also won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002. At 73, he’s approaching the end of his marvellous career – he has hinted this may be his last year – and his side go into the final in Ecuador as underdogs although nobody is writing them off. …”
Game of the People

Haaland, Aubameyang, Silva & Haller: Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt’s goalscoring graduates

“From Erling Haaland and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Andre Silva and Sebastien Haller, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt share a history of developing some of the most feared goalscorers in the business. Ahead of Saturday’s top-six clash between the two clubs, bundesliga.com takes a closer look at some of the prolific forwards the pair have seen plunder goals for them across the decades. …”
Bundesliga (Video)

John Bramley-Moore, slavery and the site of Everton’s new stadium

“Mary Anne Kinloch was a Beatles fan, and when she visited Liverpool from Canada in 1970, the place she really wanted to see was Mathew Street’s Cavern nightclub. Yet she also had family connections with the city. One-hundred and thirty years earlier, John Bramley-Moore, her great, great grandfather, was a major player in Liverpool politics. He became the Lord Mayor after campaigning for the northward extension of the docks, a decision which ensured Liverpool remained a global port for more than a century. …”
The Athletic

World Cup provisional squads explained: What are the rules and will they be made public?


“A month from today, it all begins. The World Cup in Qatar looms ever larger on the horizon and the countdown is on to the first of 64 games that will crown a winner at the Lusail Stadium on Sunday, December 18. Doubts persist over the suitability of Qatar to host this World Cup, as well as its readiness to welcome more than one million visitors, but the biggest names in football are about to descend on a tiny Gulf nation that’s half the size of Wales and roughly as big as the US state of Connecticut. …”
The Athletic
The Analyst: World Cup 2022 Guide to Each Group

Has the World Cup really improved workers’ rights in Qatar? Five experts give their verdict

“Global criticism of the treatment of hundreds of thousands of workers from countries such as Nepal, India and Bangladesh who have been building Qatar’s World Cup dream led to the Gulf state introducing a range of labour policy changes that it says have improved the lives of the migrant workforce. Have those changes worked and how likely are they to be sustained after the tournament? A panel of experts give their view. …”
Guardian

Italy’s northern dominance and why it could be broken this season

“Italians often describe their country as being split in two, north and south. Outsiders find it hard to believe that a country can have such contrasting customs and values depending what end of the ‘stivale’ one finds themselves in, but the origin of this cultural divide dates back centuries. For a country so rich in history, it won’t come as a surprise that past events are still defining elements of Italy’s present society. Unification only occurred in the 19th century, and a glance at a map of Italy before this date shows a striking resemblance with what the average Italian would describe their country as now. …”
Backpage Football

Ali Sami Yen: the iconic founding father of Galatasaray


“As the ball is played through, Colin Kâzım-Richards bears down on both his opponent’s goal and history. In rounding Şekerspor goalkeeper Önder Tiryaki and slotting into an empty net, the London-born striker scores the insurance goal in a 3-1 cup victory for Galatasaray. Simultaneously, it is one of the most significant strikes in the club’s 106-year existence, being the last ever at their iconic Ali Sami Yen Stadium. The home of Galatasaray since 1964, and known to western fans as ‘hell’, the stadium served as the stage for so many greats of Turkish football. The goals of Metin Oktay, the flair of Gheorghe Hagi, the fighting spirit of Bülent Korkmaz; qualities that epitomise the nation’s most successful club. …”
These Football Times

Premier League managers and referees: ‘What sort of message does this send?’

“After Jurgen Klopp was sent off in Liverpool’s ill-tempered 1-0 win over Manchester City last weekend, Dr Tom Webb posted an image on Twitter similar to the one above of the Liverpool manager screaming at assistant referee Gary Beswick. ‘What sort of message does this send to people watching?’ wrote Webb, who co-ordinates the Referee and Match Official Research Network. ‘It’s images like this that make people think #referees are fair game… ‘if coaches and players in the Premier League are doing it, then it must be OK’… it isn’t and it certainly won’t help the trend of referee #abuse.’ …”
The Athletic

About That Game: Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (2010)

“Uruguay 1930, Italy 1934, South Korea/Japan 2002. One instance on its own could be dismissed as a coincidence, but these three examples expose a strange trend in the World Cup – the first time the tournament is played on a continent, the host country goes deep into the competition. So, when Africa finally landed the World Cup in 2010, all eyes were on the hosts South Africa. Connoisseurs of African football were sneaking glances at Cameroon, who were ranked 19th in the world. Hardly anyone gave Ghana a second look. The Black Stars had only qualified for their second-ever World Cup. …”
The Analyst

Liverpool vs Manchester City deconstructed: The bitterness, the briefings ⁠– and what’s next

“At 27 minutes past six on Sunday evening, Anthony Taylor blew his whistle at Anfield to bring the curtain down on Liverpool’s thrilling and tempestuous 1-0 victory over the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. But the drama was only just beginning. The game itself was action-packed. Jurgen Klopp was sent to the stands after exploding in fury at the non-award of a foul and Pep Guardiola said members of the Anfield crowd threw coins at him while he was watching the game from the touchline. …”
The Athletic

Scottish Premiership: Celtic edge Hearts in thriller, Rangers held by Livingston

“Scottish football witnessed major VAR controversy in the system’s second game in use as Celtic edged a seven-goal thriller at Tynecastle. Hearts substitute Lawrence Shankland hit a hat-trick but was upstaged by the cinch Premiership leaders, who secured a 4-3 victory thanks to Greg Taylor’s 76th-minute winner. James Forrest, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda also netted as the lead changed hands several times. A pulsating match was also overshadowed by some hotly debated decisions involving the newly introduced video technology. …”
Guardian

Qatar timeline: From winning the World Cup bid in 2010 to now

“In 2010, Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country would become the first in the Middle East to host the world’s biggest sporting event, beating stiff competition from the United States and Australia. Since then, a flurry of corruption allegations and claims of Qatar ‘buying the World Cup’ have surfaced while the country’s treatment of migrant workers has also been in the spotlight. Here is a timeline of events and landmarks since Qatar won the World Cup bid. …”
Al jazeera

Cristiano Ronaldo – banished from a United squad ready to leave him behind


Cristiano Ronaldo is the one Manchester United player who knows how it looks and how it feels inside the dressing room when a legendary player burns his bridges. He was there, as a 20-year-old, when Roy Keane eviscerated several of his team-mates, assistant manager Carlos Queiroz and, finally, Sir Alex Ferguson before the captain’s contract was terminated in November 2005. … And, on both occasions, the young Ronaldo breathed a huge sigh of relief — just as several of his team-mates will, along with Erik ten Hag, when the Portugal forward’s unhappy second spell in Manchester comes to end. …”
The Athletic
NY Times: Cristiano Ronaldo and the Long Walk
Guardian: Traits that made Cristiano Ronaldo great now hasten his painful decline

Football has elevated time-wasting into a sophisticated art form

“As a pastime, or indeed lifestyle, time-wasting is undervalued. To do nothing takes real imagination; to produce nothing requires a strong moral core. The idle person does not, among other things, perform unnecessary cosmetic surgery or release an album of swing covers. The most courageous way of experiencing time is through inaction – to remain quite still and feel the minutes crawl across the face. Time-wasting in football, however, is the preserve of knaves and shysters. …”
Guardian

How Manchester United dominated Tottenham by stifling their three-man midfield

“On August 21, 2008, Metallica released The Day That Never Comes, the lead single from their ninth studio album, Death Magnetic. The music video for that song depicts soldiers in a hostile situation, but the song itself is about forgiveness and redemption, as drummer Lars Ulrich later explained. … Watching Manchester United throughout the last decade, it has always felt like they are waiting for the day that never comes — the one where they once more win football games with complete, dominant performances, even against the top sides in the Premier League. …”
The Athletic

Two World Cup Goals, and the Question of the Individual Versus the Collective


“The Ringer’s 22 Goals: The Story of the World Cup, a podcast by Brian Phillips, tells the story of some of the most iconic goals and players in the history of the men’s FIFA World Cup. Every Wednesday, until the end of Qatar 2022, we’ll publish an adapted version of each 22 Goals episode. Today’s story involves two goals scored by two different players in two different World Cups. …”
The Ringer (Video)

France: 2022-23 Ligue 1 – Location-map with 3 Charts

“The map shows the twenty clubs in the current season of the French Ligue 1 [2022-23].
The map features the locations and crests of the 20 current Ligue Un clubs, plus the recently-promoted and -relegated teams are noted. (Promoted in 2022: Toulouse, Ajaccio, Auxerre; relegated in 2022: Saint-Étienne, Metz, Bordeaux.) Also shown on the map are the 10 largest French cities, and the 13 Regions of Metropolitan France (aka European France). {Largest French cities’ metropolitan area populations from 2016 census, here}. The major French rivers are also shown on the map, and at the foot of the map the 10 longest rivers in France are listed (with brief descriptions). …”
billsportsmaps
W – 2022–23 Ligue 1
Get Football News France

How a Heading Ban Would Change Football

Studies have discovered a link between heading a football and dementia in later life. It has been suggested that heading could be removed from the sport. But if heading a football was banned, what would the game look like? How would goals be scored? How would they be defended? What would a football player look like? Seb Stafford-Bloor explores this idea. Illustrated by Henry Cooke.
YouTube

Liverpool’s unmovable Van Dijk shows Haaland is a stoppable force


Virgil van Dijk puffed out his cheeks and wrapped his arms around Joe Gomez. Mohamed Salah may have been Liverpool’s match-winner but this enthralling 1-0 triumph over Manchester City was built on firm foundations. Van Dijk has found himself in uncharted territory this season. His crown as the most complete centre-back in world football has slipped. As Liverpool’s defensive vulnerability has been repeatedly exposed, his form has been held up as a symptom of the team’s decline. There have been uncharacteristic errors and accusing fingers pointing in his direction. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: Liverpool vs Manchester City and a dearth of proper wide options

Barça go knocking on wrong doors after clásico defeat that was too easy

When at last it was all over, Joan Laporta stood up, shook hands with Florentino Pérez and slipped out. For the second time in five days Barcelona’s president had sat front row centre watching things fall apart. He had listened to the Real Madrid supporters he had been so looking forward to seeing again launch into olés, laugh their way through ironic pleas for his coach to stay and invite him to enjoy Thursday nights in the Europa League, and now it was time to leave. He went down the stairs, past the statue of Sotero Aranguren and Alberto Machimbarrena cast in bronze and to the referee’s dressing room. There, according to José María Sánchez Martínez’s report, he ‘repeatedly asked for an explanation’. He had come to the wrong place. …”
Guardian

Football and Politics in South America

“Published in 1995 as part of Verso’s series of Critical Studies in Latin American and Iberian Culture, Tony Mason’s Passion of the People? Football in South America examines the centrality of the game to cultural life in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay over the course of the twentieth century. In the excerpt below, Mason reviews the points of contact between professional football and the state, with a particular emphasis on Argentina and Brazil. …”
Verso

Salah shines as Klopp earns tactical triumph amid his touchline theatrics


“Towards the end of this thrilling, slightly wild afternoon at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp could be seen with his arms outspread, a tableau of pathos, disbelief, astonishment, bewildered to find himself handed a red card by Anthony Taylor and sent from his touchline. As Klopp whirled away, almost sprinting from pitchside, air‑guitaring wildly, still barking and yelping and pointing, it was hard to disagree with his look of stunned surprise. This made no sense at all. How exactly had Klopp managed to last 85 minutes out there? …”
Guardian (Video)
SI: Liverpool Proves It Has Plenty of Fight Left in Drama-Filled Win Over Man City – Jonathan Wilson
BBC – Liverpool 1-0 Man City: ‘Why Liverpool had to wait for Joe Gomez to get back to his best’ – Martin Keown analysis
Liverpool 1-0 Man City: Player ratings as magic Salah fires Reds to win
Liverpool vs. Manchester City score: Mohamed Salah nets winner at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp sees red (Video)
Guardian: Klopp’s reliance on the undroppables reveals Liverpool’s soft underbelly

Every 2022-23 Premier League third kit rated

“Yes, we’re into the second half of October but only now can The Athletic rate the good, the bad and the ugly of this season’s Premier League third kits, as it’s taken this long for them all to finally be unveiled. Bizarre colour schemes, tributes to bridges and digital front-graphic panels, third kits are usually a heady cocktail of the experimental and the sublime, and this year is no different. …”
The Athletic

Countdown to Qatar: How Prepared Is the USMNT for the World Cup?

“Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup plan exists in many fragments across several mediums. There are whiteboards at the U.S. Soccer Federation headquarters containing tactical outlines and depth charts, as well as spreadsheets with detailed roster breakdowns. An internal database hosts all of the U.S. men’s national team’s logistics, and then there are the details constantly swirling in his own mind. …”
The Ringer